The first round of the Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship is in the books and Maarten van Loozenoord is the first ever winner of the new series. After 46 laps of intense, caution-free action at Watkins Glen Int’l, van Loozenoord was able to get by both Apex Racing teammates Peter Berryman and Yohann Harth in the closing laps to score the victory.
The newest Driver’s World Championship Series from iRacing, the iRacing Grand Prix Championship showcases their custom Dallara IR-01 open-wheel single seater in a 10-race schedule. The IR-01 touts a 3.0-liter V10 engine and a more simpler formula-type car, aiming to bring driver skill to the forefront over the right setup.
THE FIRST GRAND PRIX
In the 46 lap event around the Classic Boot layout, van Loozenoord started on the pole position but lost the lead on the start after Ben Fuller got an amazing start. Unfortunately for Fuller, it was too good, and he was penalized a pass through the pits for jumping the standing start.
The first stint saw the most chaos as multiple drivers were involved in an incident in the aforementioned boot section. After the incident, only 18 of the 26 that started remained on the track. Those 18 were also able to make it the rest of the distance.
Pit stops came just after the one-third mark in the race. That would mean the race would be decided in two stops, although the possibility initially was speculated that it could be done in one stop. After the first round, Marcus Jensen jumped to the top of the board.
DIFFERING PIT STRATS
Jensen was able to lead the pack of now seven drivers around the 3.4-mile, 5.47-kilometer circuit as the rest of the field left him unchallenged. Fuel strategies in play, Jensen would have to pit sooner than the rest as he was not able to save as much in the lead. He came down to the attention of his virtual crew at lap 30 while the rest of the leaders stayed out.
It took four laps from there before Berryman and Harth pitted, and a lap after that until van Loozenoord came in for his final stop. How much fuel put into the car would affect the pit time, so van Loozenoord took the absolute bare minimum. He cycled out right alongside Berryman, and from there it was on.
Berryman and Harth eventually were able to gang up on van Loozenoord and take the top two spots, but that was exactly what van Loozenoord needed to make it to the end. He spent a few laps in the draft, and with two laps to go, he began his charge.
van Loozenoord was able to jump around Harth before the white flag. While Berryman had a significant lead, the suck up with these cars is incredible, and van Loozenoord used that to his advantage to get a monster run on the backstretch. Berryman defended the low line as van Loozenoord went high. As they entered the carousel, van Loozenoord was able to clear. He held on through the boot and the remaining two corners to take the checkers.
TOP 10 RESULTS AT WATKINS GLEN
- Maarten van Loozenoord – 46 LAPS
- Peter Berryman +0:00.249 sec
- Yohann Harth +0:00.468 sec
- Valentin Mandernach +0:01.191 sec
- Sam Kuitert +0:03.885 sec
- Marcus Jensen +0:04.894 sec
- Florian Lebigre +0:11.797 sec
- David Toth +0:17.757 sec
- Brian Lockwood +0:18.083 sec
- Ben Fuller +0:21.663 sec
The Top 15 finishers score points in each of the ten rounds in this series. The winner earns 25 points while 15th will only get one point. A bonus point exists for the driver that completes the fastest lap in the entire race.
Leaving the Glen, van Loozenoord leads Berryman by four points and Harth by seven. Nobody in the Top 15 put down the fastest lap, instead it was Michele Costantini who pitted a third time, put on softer tires, and ran a blazing lap more than a second faster than anyone else.
TOP 10 STANDINGS AFTER WATKINS GLEN
- Maarten van Loozenoord – 25 points
- Peter Berryman – 21 points
- Yohann Harth – 18 points
- Valentin Mandernach – 15 points
- Sam Kuitert – 12 points
- Marcus Jensen – 10 points
- Florian Lebigre – 9 points
- David Toth – 8 points
- Brian Lockwood – 7 points
- Ben Fuller – 6 points
Next up for the series is Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, next week at the same time, 3:00 pm ET. Races will be broadcasted on the iRacing social channels. the full schedule can be found below.
|16th September||Watkins Glen International | Winner: Maarten van Loozenoord|
|23rd September||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps|
|30th September||Autódromo José Carlos Pace|
|7th October||Autodromo Nazionale Monza|
|14th October||Silverstone Circuit|
|21st October||Hockenheimring Baden-Württemburg|
|28th October||Road America|
|4th November||Red Bull Ring|
|11th November||Suzuka International Racing Course|
|18th November||Road Atlanta|